Started by Boris_G, July 12, 2007, 10:14:21 PM
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Quote from: Boris_G on July 12, 2007, 10:14:21 PMIt's about time he had his own thread, apart from the one devoted to his operas. I grew up with Britten's music, and have an enduring love for a lot of it. One work I'm very fond of is his ballet Prince of the Pagodas - several miracles of orchestration, and one movement in particular has been haunting me: Belle Rose's Variation in the Pas de deux of the final Act. Though Oliver Knussen did a complete recording, Britten's own recording of the slightly abridged work still hits the spot more effectively for me: I wish Decca would re-release it since I foolishly never bought it on CD.
Quote from: karlhenning on July 13, 2007, 09:16:58 AMThe Sinfonia da requiem is a terrific concert-piece!
Quote from: Benny on April 06, 2008, 10:14:31 AMSome examples:To the boys' choir: "Don't make it sound nice. It's horrid, it's modern music." (his emphasis)"But above all, even if you get your Latin wrong, keep it going, keep it sounding busy.""Now chorus... you sound much too healthy, much too healthy, there's no feeling of terror around ... make it sound creepy, make it alarmed."
Quote from: toledobass on April 08, 2008, 08:19:38 AMJust saw a performance of the first cello suite this past Sunday. What incredible music. Seems like an opera or big choral work condensed for one instrument. Makes me want to get to know more of Britten's smaller instrumental works.Allan
Quote from: erato on April 09, 2008, 12:59:52 AMOne advice: The Belceas midprice double of the string quartets. Wonderful music, from the strangeness of nr 1 to the sadness of nr 3 in wonderful performances and stunning sound. A must.
Quote from: vandermolen on April 09, 2008, 12:23:40 AMI have a bit of a blind spot (deaf spot?) with opera but, I greatly admire the following works:Sinfonia da RequiemCantata MisericordiumWar RequiemPassacaglia and Interludes from Peter GrimesYoung Person's Guide to the Orchestra (Purcell Variations)
Quote from: drogulus on April 15, 2008, 01:56:54 PM I have the Cantata misericordium on this outstanding collection, and there's a beautiful short piece Chorale on an old French carol.
QuoteIn the First Suite, he plays with many of the known virtuosic techniques, like double stops, pizzicato, and col legno. This suite is the most inviting to the listener. The Second Suite explores the various colors available on the instrument, like the colors of the different strings. He has you play melodies very high up on the G or D string, which makes the whole suite feel more personal. The melodic elements are larger and faster in this suite as well. The Third Suite is full of abrupt, fragmentary elements that make it very difficult to maintain a sense of drama. You must strive to maintain the intensity despite the jagged nature of the music. We are very lucky to have these suites.
Quote from: karlhenning on August 13, 2007, 06:14:52 AMListening this morning to the Simple Symphony played by the English String Orchestra. Charming piece!
Quote from: not mePhaedraDramatic Cantata for Mezzo-Soprano and Small OrchestraBenjamin Britten (1913-1976)Phaedra is scored for strings, harpsichord and percussion. Performance time is fifteen minutes. This is the work's first performance by the Grant Park Orchestra.In 1972, Benjamin Britten, not yet sixty, learned that he had a faulty heart valve, and could not expect to live long, or well, without surgery. He was then composing Death in Venice, based onThomas Mann's novella, for his life companion and greatest interpreter, the tenor Peter Pears, and he told his doctors that he would not submit to surgery until the score was finished. The opera was sketched by the end of the year, and orchestrated and completed by March 1973. In May, Britten entered a London hospital for his surgery, but he suffered a slight stroke during the procedure and he was generally weakened and without full use of his right arm thereafter. He convalesced during the summer by reading Haydn and Eliot, and strengthened his right hand by writing letters to friends. He had to miss the premiere of Death in Venice at the Aldeburgh Festival in June, but he was cheered by good reviews for the opera and excellent ones for Pears in the role of Aschenbach. Britten was able to attend a private performance of Death in Venice in September at Aldeburgh, and he traveled to London when the opera was given at Covent Garden the following month.By spring 1974, Britten was again up to doing some creative work, first revising his early String Quartet in D and the 1941 opera Paul Bunyan, and then composing a setting of Eliot's "The Death of Saint Narcissus" for Pears and harpist Osian Ellis. The Suite on English Folk Tunes ("A time there was...") followed later that year, and the cantata Phaedra, for Janet Baker, and some small vocal works in 1975. Britten was well enough by November to travel to Venice, where he was able to visit many of his favorite palaces, gardens and galleries with the help of a nurse and some devoted friends. He had begun composing his Third String Quartet, his first work in that form in thirty years, before he left England, and completed the score in Venice on November 16th. Though greatly worn down by the heat wave and drought of the summer of 1976, that year he managed to make eight new settings of folk songs for Pears and Ellis, arrange his 1950 Lachrymae (originally for viola and piano) for string orchestra, and compose a Welcome Ode for school musicians for Queen Elizabeth's Jubilee visit to Suffolk. In June, it was announced that he had been made a life peer, with the title Baron Britten of Aldeburgh. When the renowned Russian cellist and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich visited Britten in late November, he reported that his friend was "very sick, his hands trembling." Britten died on December 4, 1976 at Aldeburgh.Britten's last work for solo voice, composed during the summer of 1975 for the celebrated English mezzo-soprano Janet Baker, took as its subject the tragic character of Phaedra, who was first threaded into the web of ancient mythology when she married the aging King Theseus. In the old tale, Hippolytus, Theseus' son by his liaison with the Amazon woman Antiope, comes to visit his father, and Phaedra is overwhelmed to the point of madness with love for her stepson. Hippolytus, however, has foresworn absolutely the love of women, and he pays Phaedra not the slightest notice. The plight of Phaedra, ravaged by guilt but unable to conquer her lust, becomes known to her faithful old nurse, Oenone, who pleads with Hippolytus to requite her mistress' passion. Hippolytus recoils from Oenone in horror, insisting that he would never betray either his father or his vow to shun romantic love. Phaedra, having witnessed this scene, swallows poisons and then confesses both her lust and Hippolytus' innocence to Theseus before falling dead at her outraged husband's feet.The tragedy of Phaedra was the last subject that the celebrated French dramatist Jean Racine (1639-1699) took up before attacks by his rivals forced his retirement from the theater in 1677; Phèdre is generally regarded as his masterpiece. Britten drew the text for his "dramatic cantata"from the 1961 English translation of Racine's play by the Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet Robert Lowell (1917-1977). Phaedra takes its form — a prologue followed by two paired recitatives and arias — from the Italian Baroque cantata for solo voice and accompaniment, though its style, sensitivity to text and drama, and expressive immediacy are distinctly the work of Britten. Phaedra was acclaimed at its premiere at the Aldeburgh Festival on June 16, 1976. Edward Greenfield, music critic of The Guardian, called it "an opera in microcosm," and Peter Stadlen of The Daily Telegraph wrote that it "demonstrates to what extent a sacrifice in sheer length and explicitness is possible in the arts without loss of depth."
Quote from: zamyrabyrd on July 15, 2008, 08:05:18 AMVery interesting...did you write that, er, extemporaneously?
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